First, the daughter models the Minicon 46 convention shirt, whilst staring dramatically into the distance. She’s going places, that kid. With my head in a jar to boot! And yes, it was a little… odd to see folks wondering around the convention with my pickled head on their chests. Nice, mind you. But… odd.
Minicon itself, however, was a lovely experience. As I’ve mentioned here a number of times, I was Minicon’s substitute Guest of Honor, filling in for Charlie Stross, who unfortunately had to bow out (and entirely reasonably so) for some personal reasons. I was happy to be the Substitute Charlie for the weekend. It also gave me an excuse to visit Minnesota again, which is a state which has some of my favorite people in it (or has them lurking nearby). And both Krissy and Athena came along, lured by (among other things) the siren call of the Mall of America.
I may have been the Substitute Charlie, but the folks at Minicon — con staff and attendees both — made me feel welcome. The con folks couldn’t have been nicer or more attentive, in particular my liaison Anton Petersen, who procured a sparkly unicorn for my daughter when, upon hearing that the role liaison was to get things a guest requests, whimsically asked for one. That’s dedication for you. The convention goers also seemed happy to have me there, judging by the attendance at the panels.
My panels were also a lot of fun, as was my reading: As I was the Substitute Charlie, during my reading session I read from his upcoming novel Rule 34 (with his permission, of course) and then read from my own upcoming novel — not Fuzzy Nation but the one after that, which presumably will be out in 2012, and then also read the first chunk of “The Shadow War of the Night Dragons: Book One: The Dead City: Prologue” in a Shatneresque voice, because if ever there was a story that was demanding to be read in a Shatneresque fashion, it’s that one. A particular highlight for me, however, was the live presentation of my Creation Museum photo slideshow. I wasn’t entirely sure it would work, but as it turns out it did, and people seemed suitably entertained. I’ll be likely repeating it at the SFContario this November, so now you have another reason to head to that convention.
I liked the vibe of Minicon; it’s a small con (I understand it used to be much larger, but then a schism occurred and the larger portion reconstituted itself into another convention) and many of the folks who attend it have been going for years and years, so it’s got a relaxed feel of a gathering of friends, which I suppose is best exemplified by its music circles, in which people bring their guitars (and drums and violins and etc) and then just play along together in a spontaneous and improvised fashion. My fellow guest of honor was Chas Somdahl, who was being honored for his music, both at previous Minicons and elsewhere; it was fabulous to watch him in the music circles and to listen to him and other play.
The only annoying thing to happen wasn’t the fault of the convention: Our rental car’s battery died, just as we were heading to the airport. But even then the invaluable Anton took my family to the airport while I waited for the service folks to give me a jump, showing that Minicon goes the extra mile (or in this case, the extra six and a half miles, that being the distance from the hotel to the airport) for its guests. As I mentioned at the closing ceremonies, I was the Substitute Guest of Honor, but the folks at Minicon made me feel like I was their first choice, and that was a lovely thing to feel. I do hope that Charlie does eventually get a chance to come out to Minicon; if it’s as good to him as it was to me, he’ll have a fine time.